How Much Democratic Backsliding?

Issue Date October 2017
Volume 28
Issue 4
Page Numbers 162-169
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Democracy is facing challenges across the world, yet suggestions of a global crisis are not warranted. Based on data from the largest democracy database ever compiled, the Varieties of Democracy Project (V-Dem), we find that the number of democracies worldwide declined slightly from 100 in 2011 to 97 today, and 16 countries transitioned to democracy over the last ten years, including Tunisia, Nepal, and Nigeria. However, there is a fair degree of volatility. In 2013 alone, five countries transitioned to democracy but nine went the other way. Worrisome trends include gradual erosion of freedom of expression and association in several countries, among them Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and Brazil.

About the Authors

Valeriya Mechkova

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Staffan I. Lindberg

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Anna Lührmann

Anna Lührmann is a postdoctoral research fellow in political science at the University of Gothenburg.

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